Ways to use Pusher at the Mozilla Festival

We’re excited about attending the Mozilla Festival from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th of November and I thought it was worth writing something which might give attendees a better idea about how Pusher could be used in a few of the design challenges. Pusher can be used for realtime multiplayer HTML5 Games, notifications, collaboration, social media integration, realtime data display and visualisation; all of which add an extra level of engagement to the user experience. But solid examples tend to really help. So, here are a few ideas that I could come up with and hopefully they’ll plant a few seeds for greater ideas.

But first…

Human APIs

Both Mary and I will be attending the festival as Human APIs so please keep an eye our for us, say “hi” and grab hold of us to help you add cool realtime, multi-user, collaborative engaging experiences to the apps and games that you are building. It’s exactly what we are there for!

Here are some mugshots so you know who to look out for:

Mary Rose Cook Phil Leggetter
@maryrosecook @leggetter
Mary Rose Cook Phil Leggetter

Balancing the Newsflow: Real-time reporting vs. the big picture

Challenge: Workflow and user experience that seamlessly integrates real time reporting into the big picture

Although the focus here is on creating a workflow the application that makes this possible is a very exciting concept. Firstly there is a requirement to ensure news is captured and curated from a number of sources. News is frequently broken on Twitter then augmented by blogs, pictures, video and audio. The first step in this process might be to gather and curate realtime data. DataSift, with it’s Firehose access to Twitter along with a host of other sources, is a great starting point for gathering that data. Not only can it be used to gather the data but also to curate it using their augmentation targets.


Once we have one, or a number of, reliable realtime streams of information set up within DataSift (or we’ve found existing ones) we then need to distribute this information to an application. Pusher is an ideal service for this last mile delivery of data from your own application server which is consuming data from DataSift and then pushing that information to web, mobile, tablet and desktop applications.

Once the data reaches the application that data needs to be visualised for a manual curation step, to allow human being to verify sources, to check information and to take that data and start building up a story. Storify have a fantastic platform for doing this with historical data but would it be possible to add an intuitive realtime layer to their user interface? How can those realtime updates be pushed into a live-updated published story?

So, we have the infrastructure to build an application which can certainly deliver a realtime centralised workflow what will they need the app to do? Will they want to be able to collaborative edit the document and manage the synchronisation between mobile and web apps? Will they want activity streams of realtime tweets or blog posts to be pushed into the application and easily dragged and dropped into the news story? Will they want to be able to chat to other reporters attending the news event?

I’m looking forward to fully understanding the requirements, seeing how these apps might be used and what the final stages of curating, augmenting and publishing will be.

Games that rock the browser

Challenge: Port a classic game to run directly in the browser

We’re seeing a number of fantastic HTML5 games hit our browsers. We’re particularly interested in the multiplayer games. From augmented classics like WordSquared to Rawkets and the Isogenic Engine powered Iso City we’ve seen some great HTML5 games but what classics would benefit from a realtime multiplayer aspect? I’d love to see any of the following ported:

  • Team 17’s Worms (check out Tanked)
  • A multi-player Chase H.Q where you can be the chaser, Tony Gibson, or one of multiple villains
  • A massively multiplayer Bomberman. WordSquared has demonstrated that it’s great when a game has no boundaries. How about a never ending maze around the Bomber Planet.
  • Gauntlet – this one might be quite tricky but I remember is was great fun to play with friends.
  • Super Off Road. Well, just because it was awesome!

Passing Notes in Class: Making educational video a social experience

Challenge: Synchronize and super-charge online discussions around educational video

It’s worth providing a bit more information from the Mozilla Festival Challenges page for this one:

But there are still big gaps in how learners can track and participate in online discussions while viewing these videos. How do we “talk back” to online video in ways that captures the social and interactive flavour of the best classroom experiences?

This one perfectly suits realtime collaboration. Time-based Q&A about something in the video. Realtime commenting and chat. Potentially with a moderation feature to ensure there isn’t too much “classroom atmosphere” introduced. And why not add the ability to throw pieces of chewed up rubber or paper at other classmates!

Popcorn Bounties: Improve interactive video on the web

Challenge: Drive open video by fixing and extending the Popcorn.js JavaScript library

Popcorn.js is crying out for a collaborative editing plugin so that geographically distributed people can work together on building video that not only interacts with your web page but with other editors, and why not others that are watching the video a the same time.

Verifying Breaking News Sources: How can we know who to trust?

Challenge: A social approach to verifying sources in real-time crisis reporting

We’ve already got some good curation tools, I’ve already mentioned DataSift and their Augmentation targets, an alternative might be some of which offer APIs like Cadmus. So, why not create an application that crowd sources the curation of news? The users can login to the system and they can potentially be identified by geographic location, using the geolocation API. Then as the news is received it could be distributed to users who should be able to verify it and curate it – maybe with voting buttons.

Remember, we’re there to help

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas of how you could use Pusher. If you have any questions, thoughts or need some help please grab hold of us or tweet at us Mary: @maryrosecook and I @leggetter.

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